Theater: Off Broadway, a Triumphant ‘Toni Stone’
Through Aug. 11, roundabouttheatre.org.
After a theater season as thrillingly sturdy because the one we’ve simply had, individuals scramble to see the hot-ticket reveals. In the method, although, they miss a number of the most enjoyable work — like Lydia R. Diamond’s baseball biodrama “Toni Stone,” a humorous, poignant, enraging, uplifting story of ardour and perseverance that opened to raves in June at Roundabout Theater Company however has gotten a bit misplaced in the fray.
At the middle of a fantastically nimble manufacturing directed by the Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon, April Matthis provides a heart-grabbingly robust and tender efficiency as Toni Stone, the nation’s first lady to play big-league baseball, which she did alongside the boys of the Negro Leagues. Racism, sexism and frilly gender expectations weigh closely on her, but Toni stays stubbornly dedicated to the factor she does finest, and that makes her really feel complete: enjoying ball. You don’t must be a sports activities fan to need to watch her win. LAURA COLLINS-HUGHES
TV: Mindy Kaling’s ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’
July 31; hulu.com
Few would dare tinker with a classic like “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” the 1994 Mike Newell-Richard Curtis confection about would-be lovers with spectacularly inauspicious timing.
But Mindy Kaling is nothing if not bold.
In her mini-series redesign — arriving July 31 on Hulu, and created with Matt Warburton (“The Mindy Project”) — Kaling turns the rom-com on its end, transforming the quipping British circle of the original into American college chums reconvening for a wedding in London. And in place of Hugh Grant’s commitment-phobe, Charles, and Andie MacDowell’s elusive temptress, Carrie, she swaps in Kash (Nikesh Patel), an investment banker masquerading as an actor, and Maya (Nathalie Emmanuel), a campaign aide. They meet-cute after she loses her luggage at Heathrow. Then their own stars begin to cross.
Not that Kaling dismissed every aspect of what she has called “one of the first perfect comedies”: MacDowell appears as the highhanded mother of Maya’s best friend, Ainsley (Rebecca Rittenhouse). (Alas, no evidence of Grant in the seven episodes offered for review.) She also cast the rom-com stalwart Dermot Mulroney (“My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “The Wedding Date”) as a divorcing Texan in desperate need of an interior makeover. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Classical Music: Two Concerts, Five Female Composers
If you time your evening right on Tuesday, you could hear a couple hours of superb music composed by women — more than some classical music organizations program in their entire season. Start off at Temple Emanu-El, where the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts are being held this summer, for a free concert by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. It’s an all-American program with the usual chestnuts by Barber and Copland, but also Anna Clyne’s rapturous double-violin concerto “Prince of Clouds,” and a set of songs by Florence Price. Then head west, directly through Central Park, for one of Mostly Mozart’s “A Little Night Music” events at Lincoln Center’s Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse. The soprano Susanna Phillips and the pianist Myra Huang will present a late-night performance devoted to 19th-century lieder by three composers who were unjustly overshadowed by their brothers or husbands: Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Alma Mahler, and Clara Schumann. WILLIAM ROBIN
Film: Digging Below the Surface, in ‘Skin’
In February, the Israeli director Guy Nattiv won an Oscar for “Skin,” his live-action short about a neo-Nazi who gets his comeuppance after inciting the beating of an African-American man. Now in his English-language feature debut, also called “Skin,” Nattiv goes a step further with a similar story, this one based on true events.
Jamie Bell stars as Bryon Widner, a skinhead slathered in tattoos — swastikas and razor blades on his face, the letters H-A-T-E on his knuckles — who, after falling in love with a reformed white supremacist and mother of three (Danielle Macdonald), decides to abandon the cause. But escaping the makeshift family whose founders (Bill Camp and Vera Farmiga) groomed him for violence is hardly as simple as walking out of one life into another. And removing the symbols of hatred inked onto his body is no small feat: In real life, Widner endured 25 excruciating surgeries to erase the evidence of his former racism.
“Skin” opens in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and other large cities on July 26; it can also be viewed on DirecTV. KATHRYN SHATTUCK
Pop Music: Grabbing Your Collar, Where Hard-Core and Hard Rock Meet
July 28, lpr.com
After five years without a record, Off! is at work on both an album and an accompanying documentary. Maybe. This all-star quartet of hard-core punk and hard-rock vets first disclosed plans for the record and film in an April Fool’s Day video that first seemed to “announce” their breakup and the appointment Keith Morris, the lead singer, as president of Kickstarter.
Right. It was, in fact, just a come-on to support a Kickstarter campaign funding the album and film, both of which are to be called “Watermelon.” But that’s all in the future; this band is about the racing, throbbing, screwed-up present. On July 28 at 8 p.m. at Le Poisson Rouge, expect guitar pump-fakes aplenty from Dmitri Coats, and mouthed-off, collar-grabbing quips from Morris — who, by the way, was the short-lived first frontman for Black Flag in the late 1970s before leaving to found the Circle Jerks. Off! is at its best when worrying the same divide where Morris’s other bands have thrived, between the melodic guitar of classic rock and the negation of hard-core. GIOVANNI RUSSONELLO
Art: Searing Posters, from Botswana to Chicago
Through Sep. 2; artic.edu
Working mostly from across the border in Gaborone, Botswana, the Medu Art Ensemble agitated against South African apartheid from the late 1970s until 1985, when a South African Defense Force raid, which destroyed several members’ houses and killed a dozen people, put an end to the project. In addition to organizing symposiums and teaching art classes, Medu produced scores of posters whose graphic colors, colliding with impassioned slogans, sophisticated drawing, and ad-hoc typefaces and production, make them seem weirdly out of time. Most of Medu’s members were exiles from South Africa, but the piece that lends its title to “The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster” at the Art Institute of Chicago was made by Judy Seidman, an American-born transplant and fighter against apartheid. WILL HEINRICH
Dance: Wendy Whelan Returns to the Stage
July 31-Aug. 4, jacobspillow.org
Wendy Whelan is taking a break from her day job for a good reason: to dance. Earlier this year she became the associate artistic director of New York City Ballet, where she was formerly a principal; before that, she focused on an independent performance career. This week at Jacob’s Pillow, she will reignite that part of her life with the premiere of “The Day,” a collaboration with the cellist Maya Beiser and the postmodern choreographer Lucinda Childs. An exploration of loss, resilience and what happens after the soul leaves the body, “The Day” showcases Beiser, who conceived of the project, performing onstage with Whelan to music by David Lang.
For the work, Lang has extended “the day” and “world to come” — composed after the events of September 11, 2001 — and created text drawn from an internet search of the phrase “I remember the day I. …”
In her choreography, Childs responds to the text in abstract and narrative ways. As for Whelan? She embodies it all. GIA KOURLAS
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